Russia today said the Prime Ministers remarks that US-based NGOs were behind the protests in Koodankulam underlines the urgency of the situation and the concern of the government.
Russian Embassys senior counsellor Sergei Karmalito told The Indian Express that the Koodankulam issue had come up for discussion during the meeting of Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai and visiting Russian deputy foreign minister Andrei I Denisov yesterday.
The Indian side confirmed to us that they are actively working towards resolving the issue at the earliest,and we are looking forward to the implementation of the agreement between the two countries, he said.
The fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has commented shows the urgency (of the situation) and the Indian government is really concerned,and they want to find a solution, said Karmalito,one of the top three diplomats in the Russian Embassy in New Delhi.
When PM Manmohan Singh visited Moscow in December last year,he had said that the issue will be settled within a couple of weeks. It is taking longer than that. Now Indian government is working actively to find a solution which will be satisfactory so that the reactors will be ready for commissioning, he said.
Karmalito said once the situation has been brought under control,it will take two to three weeks for commissioning the first reactor and another couple of months for it to begin operating.
Because of the protests,no work is taking place at Koodankulam power station since August last year. A minimal staff is present at the station to take care of the basic operations.
To allay the fears of the agitating public,the government had set up a 15-member panel of independent experts in October last year. This panel held a series of meetings with the leaders of the protestors and also officials of the state government. It answered the queries raised by the protestors on the safety and security of the reactors but was unsuccessful in convincing them to withdraw the agitation.
In an interview to Science magazine,the Prime Minister had said that these NGOs did not appreciate Indias need to make use of high-technology like nuclear energy or genetically-engineered crops to move forward on its growth agenda.
You know,for example,what is happening in Koodankulam. The atomic energy programme has got into difficulties because these NGOs,mostly I think based in the United States,dont appreciate our country to increase the energy supply, Singh said.
Asked whether nuclear energy had a role to play in Indias energy sector despite last years accident in Fukushima,Japan,he said,Yes,where India is concerned,yes. The thinking segment of our population certainly is supportive of nuclear energy.
India is setting up two new 1000-MW nuclear reactors in Koodankulam with Russian help. The first of these reactors was to be commissioned in December last year while the other was to follow it six months later. However,due to continuing protests since August last year,the entire timeline has derailed.